Originally published in the The Decatur Review, on 27 Dec 1903, pg. 6


Coroner Had More Inquests Than Any Other Year

Coroner C.E. Dawson has held more inquests during the year just passing than in any other year since his election. The total number held to date is fifty-five, an increase of almost 20 per cent over the forty-six of 1902, and an increase of almost 60 per cent over the thirty-five of 1901. In two years the number of inquests has been more than doubled.

Accidental deaths claimed more inquests than any other cause. Altogether twenty inquests were held over the bodies of those who were killed in collisions, wrecks, or on the railroad in some way, those who were injured in minor accidents; such as burning; the one killed by a street car. Other causes of death determined by the coroner's juries were as follows: Accidental poisoning, 3; exposure and suffocation, 1; natural causes, 17; sucicide, by shooting and poisoning, 8; smothered in a corn bin, 1; killed by other men, 2; criminal neglect, 1; drowning, 1; drinking six and one half bottles of the essence of Jamaica ginger, 1, total, 55.

Eleven inquests were held in May, and seven in January. Following are the names of those persons over whom inquests were held, and the causes of their death:

  • Theodore M. Hall, Jan., 8, at 828 South Webster street; the result of unknowlingly eating strychnine and belladonna tablets.
  • William O. Kay, Niantic, Jan 11; exposure and suffering due to falling off a bridge while in a state of alcoholic delirium.
  • Infant of Mr. and Mrs. George Smith, Jan. 16, 1452 North Railroad avenue; natural causes.
  • P.F. or Charles Hurley, Jan. 19, the result of injuries received in a collision on the Illinois Central.
  • Charles Lebo, Knights, Jan. 21; struck by a Wabash engine.
  • Mrs. May E. Cory, Jan. 30, at Maroa; fatty degeneration of the heart.
  • Ben H. Atkinson, Jan. 30, St. Nicholas hotel, suicide by morphine.
  • Gilbert R. Rue, Feb. 9, in Hickory Point township, suicide by dynamite.
  • Peter Sellers, Feb. 13, at St. Mary's hospital, from injuries received by being run over on the Illinois Central at the Marietta street crossing.
  • Edith B. Ayers, Feb. 20, due to injuries received in falling down the back stairs of the Haworth block while in an intoxicated state.
  • Vivian W. Mercer, Feb. 27, at 1105 North Calhoun street, from eating belladonna and strychnine tablets prescribed for olders members of the family.
  • John A. Eaton, Maroa, March 17; natural causes.
  • Thomas Gibbons, St. Mary's, March 20, from injuries received in falling off a telephone pole on Marietta street.
  • Norman Pringle, 744 East Wood street, March 24; natural causes.
  • John W. McGlennon, March 31, at 2205 North Union street, suicide by opiate.
  • Orin Dunn, Illini township, April 10; smothered in bed.
  • Infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Tippit, April 14, 15 424 South Water street, natural causes.
  • George Sullivan, April 20, in Argenta; asphyxiation after being buried in a bin of corn into which he had fallen.
  • Mrs. Sarah P. Fletcher, April 25, in Long Creek township, heart disease.
  • Mrs. Carrie B. Smith, April 27, at Macon; suicide by carbolic acid.
  • Unknown colored man, supposed to be Louis Hardin of Okolona, Miss; hit by engine in Wabash yards April 30.
  • Peter Martin, 1551 North Church street, May 1; heart disease.
  • Frank Bowman, Long Creek township, May 4, rheumatism of the heart.
  • John Svien, May 4, hit by passenger train in the north yards of the Illinois Central railroad.
  • W.G. McNier, May 6; shot by Edley H. McCoole.
  • Unknown infant prematurely born, May 9; criminal neglect.
  • Louis Edward Schubert, May 10, Maroa township; pulmonary tuberculosis.
  • Jesse J. Pride, May 10, Maroa; suicide by carbolic acid.
  • Tony Wittkow, May 19, accidental drowning in Sangamon river; overturning boat and inability to swim being the cause.
  • Archie F. Wilson, May 21, at 231 East Prairie street; cerebral hemorrhage, apoplexy.
  • Zelpha Holland, May 20, 422 East Orchard street; overdose of morphine.
  • Mrs. Abigail Nihiser, May 30, Milam township, heart disease.
  • Lyman Thornton, June 20, Andrews' restaurant, natural causes.
  • Matilda Jane Andrews, June 26, Whitmore township, paralysis of the heart.
  • George H. Johnston, July 3; hit by Wabash train near College street crossing.
  • James P. McLaughlin, July 13, South Macon township; drinking six and one half bottles of the essence of Jamaica ginger.
  • William Swigart, July 28; killed in Bill Whittington's place at 112 North Franklin street, by a razor in the hands of William H. Cummings.
  • A.S. Huckstop, Aug 10; struck by a Wabash train at Reddick, Ills.
  • Edward Koschenske, Aug. 13; suicide by shooting at 1202 East Eldorado street.
  • Oliver K. Slonaker, Aug 17, Warrensburg; accidentally thrown from a horse.
  • George E. Storze, Aug. 18; struck by an engine in the Illinois Central yards.
  • Mrs. Ida Jacks, Aug. 18; accidental burns received while using gasoline for cleaning purposes.
  • Ollie Conn, Sept. 18; run over by street car while on his way to umpire a baseball game.
  • Joseph S. Hewes, Sept 14; suicide by shooting at the court house.
  • Edna Pauline Sinclair, Oct. 3; struck by Illinois Central engine across from her home, 1452 North Railroad avenue.
  • John Papas, Oct. 20; struck by Wabash train at Worden.
  • William L. Johnson, Oct. 29, 528 North Mercer street; natural causes.
  • Daniel Lynch, Nov. 12, Laclede hotel; natural causes.
  • Harry Seeforth, Nov. 19, at 409 South Webster street, abcess of the brain as the result of an explosion at the Barber Asphalt works.
  • James H. Durfee, Nov. 25, at the old coal shaft; apoplexy.
  • J. Harry Margeson, Nov. 27; struck by engine in Wabash yards east of Jasper street.
  • Edward H. Pasley, Dec. 3, Mt. Zion township, complication of diseases.
  • Unknown man, Dec. 5, at Maroa; embalming fluid taken with suicidal intent.
  • David R. Reed, Dec. 22; struck at Cerro Gordo by Wabash train.

  • TOTAL DEATHS FOR 1903: 303

  • Stillbirths: 30
  • Contagious diseases: abt. 20
  • Murders: 2
  • Overeating: 1
  • No deaths for persons whose names begin with U, Y or Z.
  • Month with most deaths: May 1903 - 39



    Six men were sent to Chester penitentiary:

  • Seymour Dennis
  • Maxwell and Johnson
  • Samuel Hauck
  • Paul Haas
  • Bloomfield Smith

    Those who were sent to the reform school at Pontiac were:

  • Edward Chandler
  • Arley Fisk
  • Edgar Barney
  • Roy Dilley
  • William Quinn
  • Harry Owens
  • William Williams
  • Edward Casey
  • Thomas Howley
  • Claude Rees

    During the year 1903 an addition was built on the jail, doubling its capacity and making it stronger and better able to hold prisoners. Two escaped but they got out because of the work going on which left a hole unguarded for a few minutes.

    POOR FARM - Has A Most Prosperous and Flourishing Year

    The poor farm is in a prosperous and floushing condition. During the year 1903, Steward W.A. Kirkman turned over to the county treasurer $1787 in money. Out of that sum his salary and the pay of his helpers must be drawn.

    Thirty-three inmates have been received and thirty-seven discharged. Thirty-four are now left at the farm. Four patients were sent to the asylum for the incurable insane at Bartonville, and five were received from Jacksonville.

    The poor farm is more than self-supporting. Besides paying nearly $1800 into the county treasury, Steward Kirkman has bought food for the inmates. He now has on hand enough wheat to supply the inmates with flour for a year. He has apples and canned fruit, potatoes and plenty of other vegetable, besides other eatables. He has moreover, 43 hogs and 36 head of cattle, 6 horses, 17 tons of hay, a stack of straw, 3500 bushels of corn and 500 bushels of oats.

    The poor farm comprises about 200 acres, most of which is under cultivation.


    The contagious disease record for 1903 is larger than that of 1902, but not so deadly. The 1903 record is swelled by 179 cases, most of which were reported in March, April and May. The total number of cases reported was 323, an increase of 46, or about 16 per cent over last year's report.

  • Smallpox: 17
  • Scarlet Fever: 27
  • Diptheria: 63
  • Typhoid Fever: 34
  • Measles: 179

    Additionally there were 3 cases of scarlatina reported for the year.

    MARRIAGES - New Record for Macon County Made in 1903

    County Clerk J.M. Dodd issued 571 marriage licenses during 190. This number breaks the record. The number of licenses issued has grown every year. Many of these licenses were issued to people from other places, but it fairly represents the number of marriages that took place during 1903.


    Temperature and Rainfall Close to the Average

    LOW TEMP for 1903: -10 Degrees F

    HIGH TEMP for 1903: 98 Degrees F

    PRECIPITATION for 1903: 33.93 inches

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